Research Point

Drawings by Two Contrasting Artists

Find drawings by two artists who work in contrasting ways: from tight rigorous work to a more sketchy, expressive style.
J D Hillberry is a present day American artist who produces very detailed drawings which are almost photo-realistic.

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His rigorous attention to detail is obvious and is accomplished by incorporating a wide range of contrasting tones and precise textures in order to produce realism. He goes beyond the darkest tones that graphite pencil can produce by incorporating carbon pencils and also charcoal to create the blackest tones, often by layering the medium.

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He creates 3D effects by pitching the extremes of light and dark tones against each other.

The gradation of his shading is seamless and takes hours of precision mark making supplemented by using his eraser as a tool for lightening.

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Where appropriate he makes great use of tonal edges accentuated by contrast with the adjoining space rather than by defined lines.

Story%20Time%20W[1]   craig%20kline[1]It is his laborious attention to detail that gives his drawing life rather than a representation formed by linear marks. He has obviously studied hard the way that the effect of light and shadow contribute to the depiction of form.

Giacometti (1901-66) was better known for his skinny sculptures and his paintings rather than his drawings though it was drawing that formed the greater part of his early artistic output.

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His depiction of detail, say, in the triplet of heads drawing is made up by a greater intensity/density of his lines rather than drawing a shape of that detail. Shading is a multiplicity of lines.

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The “whirliness” of some of his lines certainly does not accurately portray the detail of the subject but still conveys the essence of what the subject is. It is as though the frenzied marks are more important to Giacometti than the accuracy of his drawing, i.e. his physical act of expression is more important than the image.

If I had made such a drawing I am sure the observers would be less than ecstatic!

giacometti-drawing3[1]    giacometti-web[1]

In the drawing xx many of his marks are contrary to the detail you would expect in a face or neck though the image conveys the information you would expect to see in a head and shoulders portrait.


The three “room” drawings portray a different style insofar that the majority of his lines are straight even though in places they are depicting curves.


I found no reference as to the amount of time it took Giacometti to complete his drawings. Were they very quick sketches or studied drawings. Are his many lines searching for the right one or is he adding lines for dramatic expression?



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